Arequipa

When to go

Jan-March

Ideal length

4 nights

Transfer time

1 hour flight from Patagonia

Arequipa is a UNESCO world heritage site, overlooked by the conical El Misti volcano. It does justice to its nickname, the ‘white city’, as its buildings consist of ‘sillar’, a white volcanic rock that embellishes the facades of the city’s homes and churches. The town of Arequipa is situated at around 2500 metres, making this an ideal stop over between Lima and Cuzco, allowing you to acclimatise slowly to altitude.

OUR FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO IN AREQUIPA

PLAZA DE ARMAS

Arequipa’s main plaza, unblemished by modern interference’s (save for the ubiquitous honking taxis) is a museum of the city’s sillar architecture – white, muscular and aesthetically unique. Impressive colonnaded balconies line three sides

SANTA CATALINA CONVENT

Founded in 1580 this is the most stunning convent in Peru. Built to shelter a select group of the religious order, it is a small colonial town comprising houses for the nuns and servants, cloisters, plazas and narrow streets lined with bougainvillea’s

LA CATEDRAL

The history of the cathedral that dominates Arequipa’s main plaza is filled with doggedness. The original structure, dating from 1656, was gutted by fire in 1844. Consequently rebuilt, it was then promptly flattened by the earthquake of 1868

CASA DEL MORAL

An extraordinary mestizo baroque mansion, built in 1733 by a Spanish knight and nicely restored with period detail in 1994, Casa del Moral offers one of the best windows onto colonial times in Arequipa

IGLESIA DE LA COMPANIA

One could argue that Arequipa’s cathedral is just too big. Providing an interesting antidote (and proving that small really can be beautiful) is this diminutive Jesuit church on the southeast corner of the Plaza de Armas

JUANITA MUSEUM

The small Museum of Andean Sanctuaries features a collection of fascinating exhibits, including mummies and artefacts from the Inca Empire, but it is dominated by one tiny girl: Juanita, the Ice Maiden of Ampato

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